England in India 2008-09 December 9, 2008

Adjusting to Indian conditions will be tough - Butcher

Cricinfo staff


Mark Butcher: "In India the ball does not come on to the bat, you have to be very sure about the bat face, you have to play the ball late" © AFP
 

After rain hampered England's preparations in Abu Dhabi and their only warm-up game was cancelled for security issues, the tourists return to India for the Tests short of much-needed practice. Mark Butcher, the former England batsman, believes it will be "enormously tough" for the team to put on a competitive performance in India.

"In 2001 we played three warm-up games, and we still lost the first Test match," Butcher told the Guardian.

"In India the ball does not come on to the bat, you have to be very sure about the bat face, you have to play the ball late. Getting your head around that takes more than nets, it takes time in the middle before a batsman can be confident that he has got it right. Batting-wise, it is very difficult to adjust." England lost the three-Test series 1-0 and won only one of their warm-up matches seven years back.

"For bowlers the length has to be a good yard further up than is typical in England, while for spinners it takes a very long time to figure the optimum pace to bowl at to make the ball spin. That's especially difficult if they haven't spent enough time over there to figure out what release speed to use."

England lost the one-day series 5-0 before the last two matches were called off following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. They left India on November 29 after which the BCCI and ECB held prolonged discussions on whether the tour should go on. The team flew to Abu Dhabi last week for training sessions ahead of the Tests.